A Midsummer Night's Dream


Act 4

Summary: Act IV, scene i

Oberon secretly observes Titania as she lovingly fusses over Bottom. The strangely overconfident Bottom seems to be taking it all in stride, casually ordering Titania’s fairies to fetch him various foods and to scratch his head. Titania wraps him in her arms and they go to sleep. As Oberon approaches Titania’s sleeping place, Puck enters. Oberon tells Puck that he now has custody of the Indian boy, because Titania was so painfully distracted by her passionate love for Bottom that she sent him to Oberon without argument. Oberon feels sorry for his lovely queen now, so ridiculously infatuated with Bottom, and he releases her from the spell. He instructs Puck to give Bottom his human head back and make it so that Bottom, like everyone else, will think the events of the evening have just been a dream. Titania awakes and tells Oberon about her strange dream of being in love with an ass. The fairy king and queen are happily reunited and, as the morning’s first birds begin to sing, they walk off, discussing their plans to bless the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.

Out for a morning stroll in the woods, Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus come across the four young Athenians, who are peacefully sleeping. Theseus observes that today is the day Hermia is to give her answer about whether she will marry Demetrius or not. He has his huntsmen blow their horns to awaken the young people. Lysander immediately confesses that he and Hermia had intended to elope, but that he doesn’t really know what happened the evening before or how they all came to be sleeping on the ground. When Egeus expresses anger about the elopement, Demetrius assures him that it is no longer a problem. He now loves Helena and will until death, so Lysander and Hermia are quite free to marry. Theseus decrees that both of the happy couples should be married along with him and Hippolyta that very day.

Bottom awakens by himself in the woods, thinking his fellow actors must have just left him to sleep there the night before. He reflects upon...

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